The Relevance of International Refugee Law

Jane Mcadam

in Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199587087
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738494 | DOI:
The Relevance of International Refugee Law

Show Summary Details


The term ‘climate change refugee’ is sometimes used to describe a person who will be forced to leave his or her home as a result of the impact of climate change. While this label may be useful from a political perspective, in that it highlights some of the most extreme ways in which climate change will affect human society, it is both legally and conceptually flawed. This chapter examines the extent to which international refugee law may apply to people displaced by the impacts of climate change. Though there are some circumstances in which it will be applicable, it is, by and large, an inappropriate normative framework for responding to the needs of those forced to move on account of environmental change or climate change. Nevertheless, refugee law has some useful standards to offer any new protection-oriented instrument, such as the assessment of potential, future harm, rather than a requirement of past harm.

Keywords: climate change refugee; international law; displacement; harm; environmental change

Chapter.  6999 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.